Have you ever had an intimate friendship in which you never communicated with your friend? No? Then, how is it that we long for a viable relationship with God but are somehow embarrassed to pray? Yet, nothing in this world offers as much reward for so very little effort. While prayer happens in many ways — Mass and Communion, formal invocations such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Confiteor — speaking to God from your mind opens a personal conversation that only you and He can have. It is the most private and, ultimately, the most productive type of prayer.
Did the Saints Pray Much?
St. Faustina, known as the Apostle of Divine Mercy and a mystic who received many visions from God, should know a thing or two about the value of prayer. From the Diary of St. Faustina, we learn:
“By prayer a soul arms itself for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty. A soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it. A soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again. A sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer” (Diary, 146).
“...a soul should be faithful to prayer despite torments, dryness and temptations, because often the realization of God’s great plans depends on such prayer. If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us. Let every soul remember these words: And being in anguish, He prayed longer” (Diary, 872).
“We should often pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace of prudence. Prudence consists in discretion, rational reflection and courageous resolution. The final decision is always up to us” (Diary, 1106).
So, Saints Pray, But I'm No Saint
Let everyone who has ever thought, "God only deals with saints; He doesn't want to be bothered by the likes of me, a major sinner," please raise their hands. Far easier to count the people to whom Satan never whispered such a lie than the ones to whom he has and who fell for it. It's his favorite falsehood, the one that can delay an emerging saint by years. Ignore the evil one. Jesus stands just on the other side of the door of your heart with His ear pressed up against it and his hand gripping the knob, waiting for the faintest cry from within. After all, He promised "...Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9). Therefore, according to His promise, at the sound of His name, he'll come bounding into any wounded heart, rejoicing that you finally called on Him.
In Part II, we'll discuss the reasons why you can be absolutely confident in God's answers to your prayers, plus a few pointers to help you get up on your prayer legs.
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